The 2013 Golf Course Project

“Congratulations to Desert Forest on an outstanding renovation project. For many years, Desert Forest has been one of my favorite golf courses, and one I consider among the most interesting in America. As good as it was, the work that the club officials, members and Dave Zinkand have done has made that great golf course even better.”

Bill Coore, in a letter to the Desert Forest Board of Directors 

The Desert Forest golf course is both living and poetic. It breaths and it grows and it inspires. It is a tame piece of the earth nestled into the wild Sonoran desert. For more than 50 years, that special relationship between lush green turf and native desert fostered a golf challenge unavailable anywhere else. It was, however, inevitable that time and countless rounds; the competition between grass and cactus; the pressures of the modern game, would all take their toll.

The effort to revive the course was first conceived as one confined to the bunkers, often described as "plain vanilla" by both members and guests. Gradually, it became clear more work was needed, and the scope evolved into a tee-to-green rebuilding of the course. A set of guiding principles were developed in keeping with the club's Mission Statement. The work to write the next chapter in the story of Desert Forest was under way.

A short list of Golf Course Architects was assembled and the interviews began. This long and thorough process resulted in the decision to engage David Zinkand; first to create a Master Plan for the golf course and then to lead the process of design and construction. David Zinkand has been a long-time associate of Coore and Crenshaw, one of the world's leading golf course Architecture firms. His experience and considerable talent were complimented by a team of design and technical professionals including Jeff Bradley, Marvin Mills, Troon Golf, and Landscapes Unlimited. Members of the Desert Forest Governing Board of Directors and staff provided daily oversight as the construction project unfolded.

The project was a tee-to-green renaissance of this great American golf course. During the sequence of construction every green complex was rebuilt, every inch of rough was re-grassed, every bunker was altered or removed. More than 2.4 million pounds of bunker sand was delivered and installed, as was 16 million pounds of greens mix. More than one million square feet of rough and fairway surface was converted from Midiron to 328 Bermuda grass. The fundamentals of golf course construction - putting water on the course, and getting water off the course - entailed a substantial amount of new irrigation as well as complex drainage systems beneath every green and bunker. Despite the enormous scope of the project, it was completed on schedule and well under the $3 million budget.

From nearly every perspective the golf course is magnificent. While putting some finishing touches on the work, the Club enjoys an ongoing and rewarding relationship with Architect David Zinkand.

To learn more about David Zinkand click here

Life is good at Desert Forest!




Guiding Principles For The Master Plan:
  • Follow the Mission Statement – The course is our #1 priority.
  • It will be maintained so as to preserve its original design, historical character and natural surroundings.
  • Hire all of the necessary experts and follow their recommendations.
  • Provide adequate funding to do it right.
  • The greens should be enlarged to recapture their original design.
  • The lost contours should be restored.
  • The approaches should be modified to recapture original shot values.
  • The green complexes should be rebuilt to ensure maintainability and sustainability.
  • Adjustments should be made in line with the evolution of the game.
  • The Master Plan will be used as a guide to achieve the changes needed to fulfill our Mission Statement.